In a current Miller Brewing Company ad campaign, various manly men — including actor Burt Reynolds, former Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis and wrestler Triple H — sit inside a steel cage and debate various tenets of "Man Law."
Well, Weezer might not be as tough as those guys, but they're not taking what they perceive as some sand in the face from Miller lying down.
On Friday, the band filed suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Miller, alleging that the brewing company used its name in a "grossly misleading and deceptive" manner in a series of advertisements that ran in Rolling Stone magazine and a host of other publications late in 2004.
At the heart of the suit is a two-page ad that displayed a series of concert ticket stubs — including one from a 2002 Weezer show in Concord, California — under the heading "Rock Without the Souvenir. That's Like Beer Without Taste."
The problem, as far as Weezer see it, is that neither Miller nor Young & Rubicam (the advertising agency responsible for the campaign) obtained the band's permission to use its name, and has caused the group to be associated with the promotion of alcoholic beverages, which Weezer "did not, and do not, consent to."
The bandmembers also balked at having their name used in association with other bands featured in the ad (concert tickets by acts like Elvis Presley, Bon Jovi, Devo and, um, Less Than Jake are also featured), which has "further damaged" their reputation.
"The 'Weezer' name has been associated with other bands and musical performers with whom [the band] do not want to be associated with in any advertisement," the suit alleges. "The defendants have, without any right, title or authorization, misappropriated the valuable 'Weezer' name."
The suit seeks damages equal to three times the revenue Miller generated as a result of the advertisements, an amount which at the present time is unknown but, according to the suit, is "believed to be in the millions of dollars." Frontman Rivers Cuomo — who, as the suit reveals, is the "sole owner" of the Weezer name and trademark — would also be entitled to damages equal to three times Miller's revenue.
Audioslave, who were also featured in the ad, filed a similar lawsuit against the beer company last year (see "Audioslave, Miller Beer In Legal Brew-Haha Over Magazine Ad"). It is not known if any of the other artists featured in the advertisement plan on filing suits against Miller, who when contacted by MTV News had no comment on the lawsuit.
Per additional papers filed on behalf of Weezer, the case will be heard before a jury, though there is no date set for the trial.
The band is essentially on hiatus, although its status fluctuates regularly (see "Rivers Cuomo Says Weezer Are 'Done' For Now — Again").